What Are Plantation Shutters, and Are They Right for My Home?

Plantation Shutters can give your home a rustic elegance. These Shutters mount into a solid interior frame to make a design statement in addition to being functional. They take their name from the early- to mid-19th century Plantation homes in the Caribbean and American South; in a warm, humid climate, before the introduction of window glass, the Shutters could be opened for fresh air and ventilation and closed completely in bad weather. Now, they're commonly paired with glass windows and are opened more for light and a clear view than for fresh air. Not sure whether Plantation Shutters are right for your space? Consider the aesthetic and atmosphere you hope to achieve. How Plantation Shutters Work Plantation Shutters are traditionally wooden slats mounted into a wooden frame, although composites and man-made materials are now available. Unlike curtains or hanging blinds, Plantation Shutters are a permanent fixture in the window. The slats open and close via a rod in the middle of the shutter. Modern versions are often hinged and segmented, so they can be folded away from the window to allow for an unobstructed view. They can cover the entire window or only part of the glass to add privacy and light control. Most of these Shutters are rectangular, but custom Shutters can be created for round or triangular windows, as needed. Benefits of Plantation Shutters These Shutters give a certain aura to a space. Depending on how you paint or stain them, they can look country chic, rustic, vintage, or elegant. When installed without additional fabric window treatments, their clean lines can help a room feel sleek and modern. But they have benefits beyond the aesthetic. Window Shutters can help with your home's energy efficiency, preventing heat transfer between the inside and outside of your home when closed tight. They're also ideal for light control; you can shut them at night to avoid being woken up with the sun and open them during the day to let in the desired amount of sunlight. If you open the window glass beyond, you can let fresh air circulate through your Plantation Shutters without compromising your privacy. Finally, for people with allergies, these Shutters are easy to clean and attract less dust than fabric window treatments. Considerations Plantation Shutters aren't ideal for every window, and the design of your home and your decor may not blend well with Plantation Shutters. Additionally, they cost more to install than horizontal or vertical blinds or fabric window treatments, especially if you're adding them to a custom-shaped window or using a stain-grade wood. However, if they're properly maintained, the Shutters will last practically forever and add to the value of your home. They're unlikely to go out of style, because they're fairly versatile and can be repainted or refinished to reflect changing tastes. Additionally, you can bring down the cost by choosing a wood composite rather than hardwood for your Plantation Shutters. Wood composite Shutters may also perform better in humid rooms, such as bathrooms and kitchens. If your windows are your home's eyes to the world, your window treatments are the lids and lashes. You want a window treatment that's both functional and beautiful, and for many people, Plantation Shutters fit that bill. Call a window contractor or an interior designer to discuss your desired look and learn more about your options. Kelly Robertson is a home improvement hobbyist who dabbles in interior design. She's also a senior Internet marketing strategist at the SEO firm Prospect Genius.